For 3½ quarters, Hampshire's girls basketball team was clicking on all cylinders Saturday afternoon.
A brief sputter hardly mattered as the Whip-Purs downed Woodstock, 80-44, in Fox Valley Conference Fox Division action in Hampshire.
Emma Benoit paced the Whip-Purs with 27 points and 9 rebounds. Sara Finn added 20 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 7 steals as the Whips improved to 7-11 overall and 2-3 in the league.
Hampshire looked unbeatable in the first half, racing to a 51-15 lead behind 13 points from Finn and 11 by Benoit. Three days after scoring 23 points in a loss to Woodstock North, the Whip-Purs equaled that total in the first quarter.
The teams reversed roles in the third quarter. The Blue Streaks outscored Hampshire 19-3 to start the second half. Samantha Ludwig, scoreless the rest of the game, poured in 13 points during the spurt.
Ludwig and the Blue Streaks got as close as 54-34 late in the third, but after a timeout and a 4-player substitution, the Whips regained their composure, outscoring Woodstock 26-12 the rest of the way.
"That was by far in 10 or 11 years as a varsity coach, the best I've had a team come out and play in the first half," said Hampshire coach Ed Haugens. "They did excellent; they did everything you could ask for. We didn't start too well in the third quarter. You've got to hand it to Woodstock, they took it to us. We've got to learn to play four quarters, but for those three quarters they did a very nice job."
The Whips were determined to break a pattern of slow starts.
"We played really well," said Finn. "Sometimes we don't play as well in the first half. We're a second-half team, but we knew that we had to change our game plan and start off strong and finish it."
Nikki Dumoulin added 10 points and 6 rebounds for Hampshire. The Whips owned the glass, outrebounding the Streaks 38-23 and continually scoring second-chance points.
Hampshire shot 58 percent in the first half while holding the Blue Streaks to 21 percent and forcing 16 turnovers and outrebounding the visitors 26-9.
The comfortable margin let Haugens give everybody on the roster ample playing time. All 9 Whip-Purs in uniform scored. Jenny Dumoulin added 7 points, and Becky Dumoulin had 5 off the bench for Hampshire.